November 2011


Oblock “Read Around the Clock” Read-A-Thon
This year the students of Oblock read around the clock for a cause. Every year the AEO students raise money for local charities, including Make-a-Wish, the Plum Food Pantry, the Hillman Cancer Center, and many other worthy causes. The goal for this year’s Read-a-Thon was to read 500 books in 2 weeks. Before the Read-a-Thon started the students got pledges from sponsors and set goals for the number of books they planned to read. From November 9 through November 23, they kept track of the books they read and then collected their pledges. The students read a total of 1216 books, which was more than double the school goal! They raised an astounding $5000! The top earners were Victor Flinko (1st), Alyssa Towchick (2nd), Maxx Mastermonico (3rd), Haley Lenhart-Smith (4th), Jessica Fowler (5th), and LT Scheetz (6th). Finally, Shea Lynch read the most books during the two weeks-a total of 15! A big thank you goes out to Oblock reading teachers, Mrs. Rose Miller and Mrs. Shannon Cecchetti for organizing and planning this event.  


Fall Sports Campaign
Over $2225 was raised during the Fall Sports Candidate Campaign under the direction Joe Ionta, math teacher and high school track coach. Two candidates were selected for each fall sport by the coaches and they collected donations from students and staff using decorated cans during the lunch periods. Crowned as queen at the Fall Sports Dance was Kayla Anderson, representing the cross country team, and as king, Jake Chapla representing boys’ soccer. They raised more money than any King or Queen in Fall Sports history. Other candidates were as follows: Kathleen Crossey, girls’ basketball; Kaylie Kindler, cheerleader; Patrick Crossey and Eric Trenz, football; Natalie Marco and Alyssa Proviano, girls’ soccer; and Logan Carney, boys’ soccer


Capture the Flag
More than 140 AEO 7thand 8thgraders and 15 faculty members recently enjoyed the crisp, fall weather at Larry Mills Park by playing a fun, competitive game of Capture the Flag. The students were able to participate in this activity after submitting a flag or country project for their social studies classes. The students traveled to Larry Mills Park after school and enjoyed an exhausting game of defending their bases and trying to capture their opponents’ flags. The competition was exciting with the 8thgraders victorious in three out of four games over the 7thgraders and faculty. Faculty members not only helped organize and monitor the activity, but several also actively participated in the games. Students also enjoyed the all-girl and all-boy competitions. All of the students were winners, however, because they had fun socializing afterwards with steaming hot chocolate and yummy cookies provided by the Oblock PTSA.


On November 9th, 10 GATE students traveled to Greensburg-Salem Middle School for the annual Calcu-Solve competition.  Calcu-Solve is a competition that tests students’ abstract math knowledge in the form of story problems.  Participants are individually challenged through 10 rounds of geometry, number theory, probability, and logic questions.  This year, the team of Tom Frank, Nick Klonowski, Nick Palmer, Ryley Handyside, and Dom DeFabio placed 5thoverall out of 18 teams.  This is one of the best finishes in Oblock history at Calcu-Solve!


History Bowl
Eighteen AEO GATE students traveled to the Heinz History Center recently to participate in the History Bowl, an academic event designed to engage students in problem solving and creative thinking. Accompanied by GATE advisors Joe Miller and Jennifer Scharba, the students had to complete activities within four exhibits at the History Center while competing against approximately 200 students from area schools.  The purpose of the event is to promote interest in American history and the heritage of western Pennsylvania through the interactive exhibits. Students did an excellent job and had both a fun and educational experience. Attending the event wereNoah Coulson, Dom DeFabio, Lisa DiVittorio, Tom Frank, Nick Frazetta, Ryley Handyside, Ryan Loebig, Graham Merlin, Victoria Monstrola, Emily Oehling, Megan Oravetz, Matt Saich, Quinn Stezoski, Rachel West, and Spencer Zacher.


Battle of the Books/Team Read
The November challenge book was Code Talkers by Joseph Bruchac, and nine students successfully completed the challenge to receive a reward at lunch.

The Battle of the Books competition continues! According to librarian, Mrs. Susan Pinal, there are 4 teams tied for first place, the 5 Musketeers, Reading Penguins, Mustang Readers, and the Twist Grenades. The teams will continue to read and compete until December 15.

 Mrs. Pinal also reports that 3 students have already made it into the 500 point (or better) club, and more than 61 students have made it into theReading Hall of Fame, each earning at least 126 Accelerated Reader points. The Got Caught Reading initiative is still encouragingstudents to make reading a part of both academic and leisure activities. One hundred eleven students are at the All-Star Level, 323 are in Varsity, and 109 students have made it into the Junior Varsity. Lastly,Gabrielle Miller has 808 AR points and is on pace to break the school reading record!

Professional Learning Communities
Oblock teachers are meeting with their colleagues before and after school and during common planning periods to discuss curricular issues and student achievement. The math teachers continue to align their curriculum, discuss strategies for the PSSA tests, and improve Moodle. The reading and English teachers are beginning to prepare their lessons and develop strategies for improving PSSA scores. The PE and Tech Ed departments discussed curriculum, lesson ideas, PowerPoint, Moodle, along with updating software. Veteran’s Day and the Capture the Flag activity were the subjects of many social studies PLCs, while the science teachers discussedactivities, labs, writing prompts, assessments, andstrategies for implementing the ASSET science program into their curriculum.


Veteran’s Day Observance
The Oblock Junior High Social Studies Department wanted to make sure that AEO students understand the significance of Veteran’s Day so they prepared several displays throughout the school and held an assembly for eighth graders on Veteran’s Day withCommander Jeff Pope from the Plum American Legionas the guest speaker. Commander Pope did a more personal presentation in the library for the social studies classes. This year’s Veteran’s Day focus was on the four major battles of each branch that made a significant difference in the outcome of World War II. Pictures and information about the branches and the battles were on display in the school foyer. At the same time on that day the seventh graders viewed a National Geographic documentary about Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknowns.  Paul Houde, AEO assistant principal who served in the Navy, delivered a “Veteran’s Day Message” at 11:11 a.m. At the conclusion of that message,Hugh Donnelly, Alex Pease, and Josh Hordubayplayed a trumpet solo, “Taps,” that resounded through the halls of AEO. 

Brice Karper and Steve Stremple, AEO civics teachers, spearheaded this year’s activities and did a remarkable job. The entire Social Studies department participated in a brick honoring project with our students and the bricks were displayed in the main hallway.

In addition to the hard work of the Social Studies Department, other departments/teachers that contributed were the Art Department which helped with the design, the geography teacher who helped with the hallway displays and battle maps, the Tech Ed Department that helped with construction of materials, and the Music Department that prepared the special music.



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